Values and Characteristics of American Research Universities
The values that these institutions share include:
1. Intellectual freedom: The research university is a place of free inquiry that and a place of original ideas, a value that distinguishes U.S. research universities from many around the world.
2. Initiative and creativity: The U.S. Research University is a place that provides support for student initiative and creativity. This distinguishes us from research universities in Asia (e.g., Singapore and China) where student creativity is not supported.
3. Excellence: There is a competitive drive for talent in students and faculty and quality in research.
4. Openness: The openness of the US academy in the last century to foreign-born students and faculty, both political refugees from Europe and Asia and more purely scientifically curious.
The characteristics they share include:
5. Large and comprehensive: With some notable exceptions, they tend to be large institutions with multiple divisions comprising the “multiversity” described by Clark Kerr.
6. Undergraduate experience: The U.S. Research University includes an undergraduate residential experience that distinguishes these institutions from counterparts in Europe (e.g., France, Germany, and the Netherlands). This experience provides an opportunity to learn outside the classroom as well as within. The undergraduate experience is also enriched by the opportunity to participate in the research activities of faculty.
7. Graduate education: These institutions emphasize high caliber advanced training for graduate students, with a relatively high ratio of graduate students to undergraduates and the integration of graduate education and research.
8. Faculty: These institutions have faculty intensely who are engaged in research and scholarship and compete for external research funding. Research performance plays a critical role in the decision for tenure.
9. Research: Characterized by high levels of research, generally linked to scholarship, economic productivity, and world leadership.
10. Leadership: Enlightened and bold leadership.
Sources: Cole, The Great American University. Graham and Diamond, The Rise of American Research Universities.
American research universities from their counterparts around the world and the ecosystem they participate in may also be distinguished from its counterparts. The traditional European model of higher education emphasizes centralized planning, state control, state funding, little com-